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Regularly updated (last update: 09 February 2007)

Media fact sheet

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EU at the AAAS 2007

15-19 February 2007, San Francisco, CA (USA)

Building on Europe’s successful participation in previous AAAS Annual Meetings, the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, contributes to the AAAS Annual Meeting 2007 with a full schedule of activities. This will include

  • a European Research boothat the AAAS expo
  • a media breakfast with interview opportunities with senior EU policy makers
  • an EU cocktail at the European Research booth to meet and network with EU research experts
  • a strand of symposia on international scientific challenges, jointly organised by the European Commission and the AAAS(see below or the announcement [PDF 998 KB]).

AAAS Annual Meeting. Every year the AAAS Annual Meeting, organised by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), becomes one of the largest conferences of its kind in the world. Under the banner of "Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being" the AAAS Annual Meeting 2007 is expected to bring thousands of scientists, students, teachers and families to San Francisco, California. Altogether, there will be more than 200 symposia, plenary lectures, topical lectures, seminars and other sessions.


Meeting Science and Technology Challenges in the Knowledge Society: EU and US Responses

Research policies and international cooperation activities in the European Union and the United States, in areas including food safety, particle physics, energy, science policy, social sciences and science communication. The third symposia series jointly sponsored by the European Commission and the AAAS. (listed chronologically in the annex).


Media contacts:

Directorate-General for Research , European Commission, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium, Fax +32/2/29


Aidan Gilligan , press officer
Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium
Tel. +32 2 29-8 64 82,

Science and Research journalists are invited to visit the Research Press Centre at the European Research portal for regular news on European Research and forthcoming media events.


AAAS 2007 - Track: Understanding and Managing Societal Risks

Friday, Feb 16, 2007, 8:30 AM -10:00 AM

Food Safety and Health: Whom Can You Trust?


Food and health scares undermine public confidence and induce public authorities and food industry to ensure food safety and quality on a global range. Better consumer communication and proportionate enforcement of controls are needed along the food chain from field to fork. This leads to more measurements, for example, for monitoring compliance with labelling rules or for measuring the contents of contaminants or additives in food and feed. A solid basis of scientific knowledge together with sound analytical data is important to carry out evidence-based exposure and risk assessment. Developments in biotechnology and other life sciences bring about new needs for assuring the quality of testing result, also in the field of health applications. This can only be achieved by international multi-disciplinary cooperation with a proper communication towards the consumer and policy maker. This symposium will cover the views of science, industry, and governments by illustrating European and U.S. joint efforts.

EU contact: ,

EU speakers : Roland Schenkel, Joint Research Centre, Christian Patermann, Research DG


AAAS 2007 - Track: Frontiers in Fundamental and Applied Science

Friday, Feb 16, 2007, 1:45 PM - 4:45 PM

A New Frontier in Particle Physics

When the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) starts colliding protons in Europe, it will mark the beginning of a new era in the physics of particles and forces. The LHC will take researchers to the Terascale: an energy frontier named for its teravolts of collision energy. Research at the LHC will shed light on profound questions: the source of mass, the unification of forces, the nature of dark matter, and extra dimensions of space. Particles and forces in the very early universe may have been related by supersymmetry. If so, for every known elementary particle there is a heavier superpartner. The lightest ones, called neutralinos, might form the unidentified dark matter that makes up a quarter of the universe today. Neutralinos may be reaching Earth as cosmic rays; searches are underway. They might also be created with Terascale accelerators. Physicists are investigating string theories, which view particles and forces as vibrations of a tiny string. String theories require extra dimensions of space and evidence for these can be sought at Terascale accelerators. A mysterious “dark energy” was recently discovered, which makes up most of the universe and pushes it apart at an accelerating rate. Dark energy will be measured by observing supernovae, galaxy clusters, and lensing of starlight, but understanding its nature is a major challenge for theoretical physicists.

Organized by: Neil Baggett, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC; Maria Spiropulu, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland; P.K. Williams, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC

European speakers : Philip Bryant and Albert De Roeck, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland.


AAAS 2007 - Track: S&T Policy for Innovation, Competitiveness, and Sustainability

Saturday, Feb 17, 2007, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

The Science of Science Policy:
Making Sense of Research and Development Investments


The U.S. government invests billions each year in research and development (R&D), but federal policy-makers have indicated that the rationale underpinning those investments is unclear. Questions about how much investment is enough and whether there are enough people with Ph.D.s cannot be answered with precision. Speakers will assess the progress of the call for a “science of science policy” to provide the means to make sense of the nation’s R&D enterprise and evaluate the returns on R&D investments.

Organized by: Bill Valdez, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC

EU speaker : Richard Escritt, DG Research, European Union, Brussels, Belgium : “The European Union's Perspective on a Science of Science Policy”


AAAS 2007 - Track: Communicating Science

Sunday, Feb 18, 2007, 8:30 AM -10:00 AM

How Scientists Interact with the Media: An International Analysis


In an era of global exchange, the relationship between science and the media is increasingly important. Traditional boundaries between countries and media outlets are continuously crossed when scientific enterprises are conducted. In this context, it is extremely important to analyze and understand the relationship between journalists and scientists at a global scale. This symposium will present the results of an international project that examined the relationships between scientists and the media in the United States, Germany, Japan, Britain, and France in 2005, while using stem cell research and epidemiology as a context. This study is the first attempt ever made to draw meaningful comparisons of the relationships between journalists and scientists, based on 1,350 completed questionnaires with researchers in the five biggest knowledge producing countries worldwide. Results relative to each country will be presented and discussed, in light of the movements of scientists between the different continents and the recent controversies related to stem cell research in an international context.

Organized by: Dominique Brossard, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; Hans Peter Peters, Research Center Juelich, Juelich, Germany

EU speakers : Suzanne de Cheveigné, Shadyc (EHESS-CNRS), Marseille, France; Steve Miller, University College London, London, United Kingdom; Hans Peter Peters, Research Center Juelich, Juelich, Germany.


AAAS 2007 - Track: The Energy Future

Sunday, Feb 18, 2007, 10:30 AM -12:00 PM

From Research to Markets: Advancing the Development and Deployment of Clean Energy


The world will need an ever increasing supply of affordable and reliable energy to power global economic growth in the future. These new energy sources will also need to minimize environmental impact, most notably emissions of greenhouse gases. Large-scale use of energy is driven by fossil fuel, which is polluting, in terms of both greenhouse gases and traditional air pollution; limited; and distributed in regions controlled by unstable or unreliable regimes. Given this challenge, there is increasing international focus on developing technologies through, for example, international partnerships such as the International Partnership for a Hydrogen Economy; the Renewable and Energy Efficiency Partnership; and the Gleneagles declaration of the G8 leaders. Progress is being made through these cooperative ventures, but science, engineering, and marketing obstacles remain to large-scale deployment of advanced, clean-energy sources. It will be critical to better understand obstacles and opportunities for the range of cleaner energy technologies (e.g., cleaner fossil, advanced nuclear fission and fusion, renewables). It will also be critical to identify other areas, such as materials science and engineering nanotechnology and enzymatic catalysts, where further scientific advances offer potentially large payoffs.

Organized by: Vaughan Turekian, AAAS Office of International Initiatives, Washington, DC; Linda Staheli, U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation, Arlington, VA

EU speaker : Roland Schenkel, Director-General of the Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium: “Promoting International Research on Clean Energy Technologies”.


AAAS 2007 - Track: Infotech and Nanotech

Sunday, Feb 18, 2007, 1:45 PM - 4:45 PM

Understanding European and U.S. Public Opinion
About Biotechnology and Nanotechnology


Public opinion can act as a constraint or an opportunity for new science and technology. In Europe, it is sometimes argued, a sceptical and wary public has been an obstacle to the development of a competitive European research area in relation to biotechnology. In the United States, the climate of public opinion is one that embraces innovation in science and technology. Or so the argument goes. This symposium will bring together international public opinion researchers from Europe and North America to report on the latest in a series of comparative surveys of public opinion. In Europe, the latest Eurobarometer on Biotechnology (64.3) will include for the first time data from the 10 new member states as well as update a 10-year timeline on the development of attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge about biotechnology in Europe. The symposium will also include new data on the development of European opinion on emerging nanotechnologies. Insights from sociology, political science, and psychology will be used in exploring the bases of public perceptions on both sides of the Atlantic. The role of science literacy particularly in young people, public participation, value orientations, religion, and views about the nature of scientific governance will be discussed. Presentations will be of interest to scientists, science communicators, and policy-makers.

Organized by: Nick Allum, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom; George Gaskell, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom

Related information: EC press release (19 June 2006) One in two Europeans believe biotechnology will improve quality of life, includes press Kit „Europeans and Biotechnology in 2005: Patterns and Trends”.

Eurobarometers analyse public opinion in the EU member states and are commissioned by the Public Opinion Analysis sector of the European Commission. For further info:


AAAS 2007 - Track: Infotech and Nanotech

Sunday, Feb 18, 2007, 1:45 PM - 4:45 PM

Cyber-Enabled, Cross-National Social Science Research:
Promoting Sustainable Well-Being


Cyberinfrastructure tools significantly advance the ability to conduct social science research. It permits global social science and international collaborative projects. Sustainable well-being depends heavily on economic, sociopolitical, and environmental conditions and processes, and their interconnections. Cyber-enabled capabilities facilitate research on political, economic, and consumer-based topics at cross-national levels. This requires an understanding of critical technological and methodological research underpinnings. This symposium continues an international dialogue among social scientists toward the goal of forging value-added collaborations. The accumulation of social science data promises increasingly valid and reliable analyses and research findings but raises numerous complex issues. The first U.S.-European Union exchange took place at the 2006 European Social Science Forum in Munich, Germany. It focused on two interrelated themes: prospects for comparative empirical research at a global scale and technologies that create such possibilities. This symposium extends this discussion by focusing on the Internet as a research tool capable of addressing questions of sustainable well-being.

Organized by: Wanda E. Ward, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA; Nikolaos Kastrinos, European Commission , Brussels, Belgium; Frank P. Scioli, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA

EU contact:


AAAS 2007 - Track: Communicating Science

Monday, Feb 19, 2007, 9:15 AM -10:45 AM

Street Science: A Powerful Tool for Science Communication


The science festivals and science weeks that have evolved in several European countries and elsewhere during the last two or three decades make up a relatively new group of actors in the science communication field. These science communication events provide opportunities to reach individuals and audiences who would not come to museums or open lectures. Normally these events offer new and unusual venues -- often streets, shopping centers, and even beaches -- and forums for open discussion and debate. Most of these events have started and developed on their own. In 2001 some European organizers formed the European Science Events Association (EUSCEA, pronounced “you see”). An extensive survey, funded by the European Union, was carried out during 2003-2005 with analyses of some 20 European events and describes best practices in different aspects of the events, such as management, science, audiences, target groups, and venues. The symposium will cover a range of the subjects studied from different perspectives. Not least important is the opportunity to reach target groups (e.g., youth) by choosing unusual places for activities. Stakeholders’ perspectives on local, national, and European levels will also be discussed, offering an opportunity for some benchmarking in an international environment.

Organized by: Mikkel Bohm, European Science Events Association, Vienna, Austria

EU speaker : Patrick Vittet-Philippe, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium: “Creating New Forms of Science Communication”



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